The Heritage of Daniel Haston


The Caney Fork of the Cumberland
People and Places - Pages 70-75
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People and Places

Arch Cave
Discovered in 1806 and located about 600 or 800 yards from Bone Cave according to Goodspeed's History.
Armstrong, John
A grant to John Armstrong was entered in 1807 and surveyed in 1809, calling for 200 acres at the mouth of Rocky River and both sides of Caney Fork including the improvements made by Terry in the center.  Apparently Terry did not have a title to the land on which his cabin stood.  The grant included the Island.  The property went to the Martin family and then to Thomas Hopkins about 1830.  (See Martin Family)  Hopkins sold 250 acres including the bridge, mills and other improvements to General John B. Rodgers in 1834.  On Rodgers' death the land went to his heirs.  In 1888 C. Arnold, W. Murray and Frank Spurlock bought the land, including the Island, with the mill race, but the old mill was gone.  They paid $134 for the Island and land in the immediate area.  Later Arnold bought out his two partners and operated the ferry.  (See Rock Island Ferry)  Arnold sold the property on the north side to Isam Odle but reserved ferrying privileges to the high water mark.  The above traces ownership of Rock Island briefly.
Arnold, C.
He was the last regular operator of the Rock Island Ferry.  His widow was still living in the village of Rock Island in 1925.
Baker, James A.
Jim lived most of his life in the Rock Island Area.  He knew the Caney Fork River from the Mouth to most of the small tributaries and he knew the people.  He rode many rafts down the River to the Cumberland and on down to Nashville.  He was a reliable source of information and has been quoted several times in this book. 

He worked with each survey crew as rodman or chainman in 1912, 1915-16 and 1923-25.  He unrolled the first 300 foot chain when the river was mapped in 1912. 

One day, in 1923, while we were eating lunch on the bank of the Caney Fork, the writer pointed to a piece of copper tube that had been fitted around one leg of the transit tripod and asked Jim if he knew anything about it.  He gave me a keen, sharp look from under the brim of his black felt hat and said, "Yes, Mr. Crouch, I sure do for I was the cause of it.  Back in 1912 the Chief of the party was an Irishman who cursed about every other word.  You know we folks around this part of the country don't like to hear a fellow curse and specially we don't want anybody to curse us.  One morning I told the Chief he better cut out his cussing and the next time he did it something was going to happen real sudden. 

In about ten minutes he let out a couple of cuss words.  I threw my hand axe straight at him but dog-goned the luck I missed him and the blade cut that leg clean as a whistle but we were in luck as a local blacksmith was able to put the piece back on and clamp it with the copper.  It must have been a reminder to the boss man cause he never did cuss again.
Big Bottom
An area beginning at the headwaters of the Reservoir, at the Mitchell Bridge, and extending up the river for a mile or more which at one time was fine farming land and supported several families.  The flood of 1929 left an almost solid layer of sand, gravel, and boulders over all the fields from hillside to hillside and completely ruined them.
Big Falls
Grant #15153 issued in 1815 referred to the Great Falls at Rock Island as the "Big Falls."  Later they were referred to as the "Horse Shoe" and still later as the "Horseshoe Falls."
Bob and his Trucks
Soloman's child, a bound boy, had a small wagon he had built and played with on the Old Kentucky Road.  He died and after that when folks heard strange sounds on the road but could not see any one they would say, "It's Bob and his trucks going up the road."
Bone Cave
A large cave in the northwest corner of Van Buren County, near Arch Cave and not far from Rocky River, discovered in 1816.  (Website editor's note: Perhaps earlier than 1816, as per Hoyte Cook.)  400 or more people paid $16,000 for shares in the property at an early date.  Later Col. Ross of Virginia bought up all the shares.  The 15 acre tract sold for $20,000 in 1838.  During the Civil War large quantities of powder was made in this cave and Arch Cave.  The supply of Saltpetre was almost unlimited.
Bouldin House
A tavern on the headwaters of Rocky River, close to Hill's Trace.   It was close to or at Rocky Ford.  (Probably outside present Warren County)

Broom Factory

In 1887 Capt. George Hash operated a broom factory at Rock Island.
Buram, Peter - (sometimes spelled Burem)

He is mentioned in several books as being an early settler at Rock Island.  The first land record the writer found was in 1825 when he received a grant to 1,000 acres extending from the Walling Spring up Caney Fork including all the land between the river and the Sparta Road.  This grant also refers to the Old Kentucky Road.  He sold the land to Joseph D. Walling in 1841.  He also had a grant to land on the south side of the river entered in 1826 which he sold to John B. Rodgers in 1838.  This deed mentions Laxton's fish trap across the Caney Fork River.  Buram was a well-known preacher in that part of the country.  He was buried at Camp Ground. 

See notes under "Rock Island Bridge" also.

Calhoun Creek

The writer found only one reference in the early 1800's to this name.  It refers to Rocky River.

Camp Ground
On the Old Kentucky Road about 2.5 miles north of Walling where the Walling and Quebeck roads meet.  It was a great place to hold meetings.  Families often stayed for a week.  The first person to be buried there was a Revolutionary soldier.  It is reported that Jasper Knowles of White County knew the locations of 14 other soldiers' graves, but he died before they were ever marked.
Carnes Rock Dam
This was a loose rock dam on Caney Fork about 1/2 mile below the mouth of Lost Creek to improve the fording above the present Butts Bridge.  It washed out once but was rebuilt.
Carter, Abe
See Section "Steam Boats on the Caney Fork."
Coffee, Jesse, House

An early tavern on the north side of the Old Kentucky Road about 3/4 mile west of Viola.

Cow Gap
On the Hodges Ferry - McMinnville Road.
Cunningham Family

John Cunningham was born in Charlotte County, Virginia September 13, 1783.  He was the son of a Revolutionary soldier of the same name.  John moved to Warren County prior to 1810 and settled in the land between the Collins River and Caney Fork referred to elsewhere as the "Wilderness."  He had a son John, Jr. and he in turn had a son, James Monroe Cunningham who moved to McMinnville as a young man.  John Cunningham, Sr. died in 1858 and was buried in the family cemetery.  Old Mr. McGiboney told the writer he remembered the event as they made a casket and carried it across the Collins River Ford.  The ford was rough and the river was up and they had a hard time making the crossing.

John, Jr. was also buried in the small grave yard.  It was located on high ground facing Collins River in sight of "The Narrows" and close to the two-story log house which was torn down in the 1930's.  The property was sold to The Great Falls Cotton Mill Co. and later to the Great Falls Power Co.

J.M. Cunningham was a merchant in McMinnville for many years.  His wife was Mary Elizabeth Steakley and was the first Librarian at the McMinnville Public Library.

Depot Agent
The first agent at Rock Island station was George Hash.
Falls City
Name of the small community that grew up around The Great Falls Cotton Mill and has long since disappeared.  There was a post office there for a few years.
Fork Mountain

Not really a mountain but a rough, steep, rocky ridge between the Caney Fork River and Cane Creek.

Halterman, John
He made a land entry for 20 acres which included the Great Falls and was the first owner of land adjacent to the Falls.
Hammond Tavern
On the south side of  the Old Kentucky Road, a short distance west of Scott's Ford on Hickory Creek and nearly opposite the point where the present road turns off to Morrison.  This was a change point for horses on the old stage line to Fayetteville and Huntsville.  The last of the old building was removed in the 1950's.
Hill's Stand
A tavern on the old Hill's Trace about 4 miles east of Collins River crossing (Martin's Ferry) and about 3/4 mile east of the intersection of Hill's Trace and the Chickamauga Path.
Holder's Station
The name for what is now Quebeck which was used for two or three years after the railroad was built.  Mr. Holder owned a store at that location.
Horseshoe Falls
This is the name used on the U.S.G.S. maps of 1895, surveyed in 1891, for the Great Falls on the Caney Fork.  It is also the name of a small community located about three miles west of Great Falls on the Rock Island-Keltonburg Road.        
Holly River

The Calfkiller River was referred to as the Holly River in C. Morse's Geography of 1812.

King's Eddy
The quiet pool in the Caney Fork just above Frank's Ferry.
Lick Skillet
The common name for the village of Walling in the latter part of the 19th century.
Martin Family

The Martins were apparently the first family to live at the Island after Joseph Terry.  He was living there in September 1806, and it is known that the Martins were living there in December 1811.  Walter Womack in "McMinnville at a Milestone" states that William Martin came from North Carolina in 1797.  He also says that his son, George, was called "Rock" Martin - being born the night of the earthquake in 1811.  Then to confuse a little, reference is made on Page 155 to "William "Rock" Martin operated a ferry before 1811."  The same source states that "Rock" Martin first visited Rock Island in 1796 and returned to North Carolina for his family.

Next we have a news story in the Southern Standard in 1933 based on statements made by Uncle Rance Martin who was 92 on September 12, 1933.  His grandfather, George W. Martin came to Warren County from North Carolina in 1802.  He built a mill, ran a ferry, and lived at Rock Island.  Rance further states that his father William was born on the night of the Great Earthquake in 1811 when a huge portion of the mountain slid from the top of the mountain into the Caney Fork and formed the island.  As a result William was called "Rock" Martin.  It is true that there was a great disturbance at the time (See "New Madrid Earthquake of 1811") but Rock Island had been formed by the waters of the Caney Fork and Rocky Rivers ages before.

Uncle Rance also told the story of how General Jackson appeared at the ferry with a company of Confederate soldiers and how his mother made $75 ferrying them across the river.  He probably was referring to the time when a large number of men crossed the ferry on their way to join Jackson and go with him to New Orleans.  The Martins were not living at the Island during the Civil War.

And now, let's look at a few records.  The Sheriff of Warren County sold the property around the Island including the ferry in October 1813 for $101. (Deed July 12, 1814)  Martin failed to pay a crop bill to Thomas Hopkins in October 1827 for $92.70 and Hopkins came into possession of the property in 1830.

William Martin received lands (Grants 6251 & 6252) "on the south side of the Collins River in the open Barrens near Rock Island" which he sold to Epps Gibbons in 1816.  The Martins moved to the Mud Creek area on the McMinnville Road when William bought land there in 1825 and during the next few years.  This was referred to in later years as the Squire Miller place.  The first purchase was from Uriah York and ____ McCall.

A receipt dated McMinnville 1867 mentions "William Martin, son of George Martin."  Another dated Nov. 17, 1860 reads "Received from their father, William Martin" and lists the following names and dollars: Jesse Martin -$2880, G.W. Martin - $2811, Elijah Martin - $3350, and Maryan Duncan - $3350.  Does G.W. above mean G. William?  Would he have been "Rock?"  The William referred to by Uncle Rance would not have been born in 1811 and have engaged in land transfers mentioned in the story while he was a small boy.

The writer has gone into some detail to illustrate the difficulty in arriving at the real facts involving the early settlers when written records, tradition and what a man remembers or thinks he remembers get mixed together.

Martin's Tavern
2-story brick house on Hwy. 70 at Mud Creek mentioned in the foregoing section.  It was built in 1855.  The Martins, while living at Rock Island, took in travelers.
Negro Land Grant
A grant entered in 1818, surveyed in 1819 and dated in 1823 for 10 acres on the Calfkiller River was issued to Thomas P. McLelland, a free man of color.  The writer has reviewed the abstracts of all the property acquired by the Great Falls Power Co. and the above is the only note of land granted to a negro.
Penitentiary Bottoms
This refers to a flat area at the foot of the rock bluffs on the Caney Fork River about 1/2 mile below the Power House.
This was the name of a town established in 1809 on the north bluff of the Caney Fork on the lands of Joseph Frank in White County.  This was also referred to as Frankville, Frankfort, and then Frank's Ferry.  It was probably more name than town.
Poke Patch Creek

This was a west branch of the Caney Fork in White County.  From the description it must have been on the Cumberland Plateau.

Poplar Tavern
On the Old Kentucky Road about 1/2 mile due north of Ben Lomand and 1.75 miles, air line, southeast of McMinnville and west of Shells Ford on the Collins River.
Post Offices in the Rock Island Area

The following post offices were among the ones in the area.  The reader is referred to "McMinnville at a Milestone" for a comprehensive list of post offices and postmasters in Warren County.

Allen's Ferry - Jesse Allen was P.M. in 1830.

Bone Cave - in Van Buren County a little over one mile east of the old Blank's Mill on Rocky River.  Bone Cave was not far distant.

Falls City - on the left bank of Caney Fork at the Great Falls ... built to serve the Cotton Mill and community surrounding it.  It was established February 14, 1893 and discontinued November 7, 1901.  Hugh L. Walling was the P.M.

Horse Shoe Falls - on the road west from the present Great Falls Power House and about 1/2 mile south of Bailiff Ferry.  Arsey Womack was P.M. in 1877.  The name was changed to Horseshoe Falls September 20, 1895 and it was discontinued in 1904.

Shippingsport - Jesse Allen, jr. was P.M. in December, 1833.  The office was closed in November, 1835.

Rock Island - Peter Burem was the first P.M. when the office was established in December, 1832.  James Rodgers was P.M. in February, 1835.  John B. Rodgers, in December, 1835, resigned and was reappointed in September, 1843.
This village is located about 3 miles east of Rock Island and 3/4 mile north of the Caney Fork.  The name was given by John and William Cooper who operated a saw and planing mill there after the railroad reached the area.  The post office was called Holder for the first two or three years.  The village was named after the city in Canada.
Rodgers, General John B.
He owned the Island for more than 30 years.  See Armstrong, John and Martin Family.  The writer is preparing a story on this interesting, but little known man - which will not be repeated here.  He was a friend of Jackson, Lafayette, & Lincoln, and served his country well.

Rodgers Tavern Sign

Rowland Station
The present community of Campaign was marked Rowland Station on the U.S.G.S. maps of 1895.  The name was later applied to a new station about 3.5 miles to the southwest toward McMinnville.
Rucker, Jennie Hash
Mrs. Rucker has been quoted several times in this book.  She was a fine lady with a wonderful memory and a keen interest in the history of the Rock Island Area.  She spent her lifetime in the Hash home at the top of the bluff overlooking Rocky River.
Rush Spring Creek

See Lost Creek in the list of Caney Fork tributaries and sketch below.

Sketched Map of Big Spring & Rush Spring Creek
Website Editor's Note:  See a modern topo map of this same area. 
The names and sketch of the streams do not match the features of the area around the
"Lost Creek" stream that flows into the Caney Fork above Butts Bridge and below the Chattanooga Ford.
If you have information concerning these streams, please contact Wayne Haston.

Salt Petre
This was to be found in many areas adjacent to the Caney Fork.  There was a Salt petre works operated by Samuel Mollers in Big Bottom prior to 1819.  It was on the Moody Wilson or T. Davis place.  It has been mentioned in Bone Cave on a preceding page.  It was widely used in the manufacture of gun powder.
Scoggins Shoals
On the Caney Fork River above the present bridge (Hodges) on the Doyle-Spencer Road.  It was mentioned in a grant of 3500 acres to Hodge.  Many families of this name were living in Middle Tennessee in the first part of the (19th) century.
Shake Rag
The area west of the Narrows and Power House.  The name was still in common use in 1930.  The Rock Island State park is in this area.
At the head of navigation on the Caney Fork and in the vicinity of Bailiff Ferry.
Simmons, Solomon
The first grant issued for land around the mouth of Calfkiller River was made to Simmons.  It is another familiar name in that part of Tennessee today.
Singer Sewing machine Company
See Walling, Thomas.
Slatton, Joe

Joe was a native of Van Buren County, born close to Rocky River, and who lived in the Rock Island village for many years.  He was a loyal helper as rodman and axeman on surveys and knew the people in the area well.

When the writer started the reservoir survey in 1923 Joe asked for a job, and we had to tell him the axeman's job had been filled, but if we had an opening he could have it.  We left camp on Monday each week, spent the nights at the nearest farm house and returned to Rock island Saturday night.  It was all walking with a small pack and our instruments.

On the third Monday out we had finished our lunch in a small clearing in a dense canebrake, and so the writer said, "Well, let's get on the move."  Sam, the axeman said, "I'm not moving unless I get a raise in pay right now - today."  He thought he had us trapped, and we would have to give him a raise or return to camp.  He was told he could start back to camp and collect his pay.  Then I saw two hands come through and part the cane, and Joe stepped into the clearing, saying, "Hi, Mr. Crouch, I was passing by this way and just thought I'd stop and see if you had a job open."  He had a small pack of clothes on his back.  Later in the day the writer asked Joe how he happened along.  He grinned and said, "I heard Sam bragging at the Bone Cave Store Saturday night as to how he was going to make you give him a raise, so I've been following you all since six this morning - keeping just out of sight.  Joe worked off and on for 11 years.
Stony Point School & Church
In Van Buren County near the Caney Fork and upstream from Dry Branch.  They were mentioned in a deed of 1888.
Stypes Branch
A very small stream on the right bank of Caney Fork above the mouth of Calfkiller River.
Sugar Orchard
Name of a place on the left bank of Collins River 9 miles above the mouth.      
Yellow sulfur was to be found in small quantities in the bluffs along the upper Caney Fork and tributaries.  It appeared in thin seams in the rock many times not more than 1/4 of an inch thick.
Tandy's Knob
This is a high knob on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau above Bone Cave, from which the Caney Fork and all the roads in the valley could be seen.  During the Civil War Tandy Slatton, Joe Slatton's uncle, served as a lookout to warn the men making powder in Bone Cave below, if any Yankee troops appeared in the neighborhood.
Old taverns in the upper Caney Fork area - See the following in this section:  Bouldin House, Jesse Coffee House, Hammond Tavern, Hill's Stand, Martin's Tavern, Poplar Tavern, and Stephen Winton's House.
Terry, Joseph
He was the first settler at Rock island.  He built a one-room log house with one door and no windows on the Warren County side of the river opposite the Island.  It had a rough stone chimney which was still standing in 1915 when the first dam was built.  The cabin had been gone for many years.  The Court for White County met at Terry's house September 11, 1806 in accordance with the designation made by the General Assembly of Tennessee.

Website Editor's Note: This sign was once located on Highway 139 (also, now called the Old Sparta-McMinnville Road, which was formerly US70S) in front of the Rock Island post office.  It is now in the hands of Dyer Grissom who rescued it from a ditch near where it once stood before being hit by an automobile. Mr. Grissom and Mr. Haley are working in tandem with the Tennessee Historical Commission to get it replaced. 14 Sept. 2002. 

Venus Falls
On Barren Creek which flows into the Caney Fork at Bailiff Ferry.  The falls are about 1/2 mile above the mouth of the creek.
Wallace Branch
See Lost Creek.
Walling, Jere
He was an old time surveyor who did a lot of work in the upper Caney Fork area.  Prior to 1912 he made a level by mounting a bottle of water with one air bubble in it on a board - which in turn was mounted on his Jacobs Staff.  Using this he ran a line of levels up Collins River for Fielding Yost.  Later surveys showed that his error in 12 miles was very small.
Walling, Thomas
The village of Teeter's Cross Roads was named after him.  He lived in Walling and was a timber buyer for the Singer Sewing Machine Co.  He bought black walnut, and when it became hard to find he bought walnut stumps and white oak.  He had a yard at Rock Island.  Most of the timber was floated down the Caney Fork and caught by a log boom at the Island, and then hauled up the hill to the Rock Island Railroad Station.
Winton, Stephen House

On the north side of the Old Kentucky Road about 2.5 miles west of Viola.

Winchester Road
The section of the Old Kentucky Road west of McMinnville was often referred to as the Winchester Road, Fayetteville Road, or Huntsville Road.

Area Where Lost (Wallace) Creek Flows into the Caney Fork

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